Customer Service – the Dying Art ·

A “Dying Art” the machines can’t match

People under estimate the value of great customer service, and quite frankly, I think it’s a dying art. I’m quite surprised with the level of customer service provided from big companies in the travel industry. As in the low level we see from some of the bigger players.

Even after seven years on the job we still get customers who are amazed that we pick up inside the fifth ring. I’m constantly being told that waiting on hold to speak to someone for over an hour, or not receiving an email for weeks without a meaningful update is standard practice, and accepted as the norm.  As an industry that is all about providing a service, it baffles me that this is common practice.

One of the difficult things about service is trying to sell it to a customer –it’s not a tangible quality – customers will look at price first without realising who they are buying from, and what would happen if something goes wrong. The challenge being finding a way to raise that something might go wrong without telling them you expect it to go wrong.

Our recent merger has brought a new focus back onto customer service. Amongst the many things that enabled roomsXML to merge with Getabed so well was a strong focus on customer relations.  Over the next few months we’ll be implementing updated processes and shortened response times to continue improving the offering.

Here are some of my tips on providing excellent customer service that will improve your referral rate and have your customers coming back for more:

  • Be personable – don’t send out a generic email with specials on a Sports Tour when your customers are foodies. Target your customer with information on their interests and make them feel valued. Once you’ve made a booking for them, go the extra mile and provide suggestions on points of interests for their trip
  • Stand out from the competition – from the get go, let customers know the high level of service you provide
  • Be attentive – there’s nothing worse than saying you’ll get back to your client on the Wednesday, and you haven’t replied until the Friday. It’s sloppy and the trust your client has in you will diminish. Delays happen and can be out of our control, so be up front and let them know.
  • Always be available – even when you aren’t available, provide ways in which your clients can be in contact with you. Email, text, voice message are just a number of ways to let you know they need your assistance when you’re free.
  • Follow up – your clients have travelled and are back from their trip, however it doesn’t mean your job is finished. Perfect opportunity to follow up with them and get their feedback, ask for a testimonial and sounds them out on their next trip. They’ll appreciate the call/email and show that you genuinely care.

At Stuba, we strive to provide the best service we can. It isn’t always perfect and continual improvement is part of what we do – to be accessible 24/7, to not have to wait on hold to speak to someone and regular emails to inform agents that we are working on their queries goes a long way in keeping our customers.

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